By OLIVER SAMBOKO in Siavonga
THE European Union is committed to helping Zambia and Zimbabwe complete the rehabilitation of the Kariba Dam to safeguard its structural integrity and lives of the over three million people.
EU Ambassador to Zambia and COMESA Jacek Jankowski said it has a long standing partnership with Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Mr Jankowski said the EU would ensure the $300 million project was funded until its completion to safeguard the dam and the people downstream the Zambezi River.
The envoy was speaking at the dam wall after touring the rehabilitation works.
According to experts, the failing of the dam wall at Kariba would lead to Zambia and Zimbabwe losing a combined total of 83 percent of national power supply and also affect the over three million people living downstream.
Meanwhile, Energy Minister, Matthew Nkhuwa, and his Zimbabwe’s Energy and Power Development Minister Zhemu Soda, said the Kariba Dam infrastructure was important to the two countries.
Earlier, the delegation held a closed door meeting in Siavonga to review progress on rehabilitation of the dam’s plunge pool which was being corroded by falling water, threatening to undercut its base whenever floodgates are opened.
Mr Nkhuwa said the project budget was not fixed and therefore called on cooperating partners to continue helping the two countries to finish the project and safeguard the dam.
The two ministers said the Kariba complex was not only important for generation of hydroelectricity power for Zambia and Zimbabwe but also for the whole SADC region.
And ZRA Chief Executive officer Munyaradzi Munodawafa said the Kariba rehabilitation project was of great value to the two countries.
He expressed confidence that once completed by 2024, the rehabilitation will restore the structural integrity of the dam to assure the continued generation of electricity at the North and South Bank power stations.
Mr Munodawafa said the rehabilitation period which was initially planned for 10 years, would instead take six years to complete.
Mr Munodawafa said the project was progressing well after initial setbacks caused by the Covid-19 pandemic which affected procurement of some of materials from China and Europe.